Karlee Vardas recently committed to play golf at Georgia Southern. The Junior at Lexington High School is currently the 2nd ranked junior girl in South Carolina which is quite impressive considering she has only been playing for a few years. 

“My dad got me started when I was 12, which was the summer after sixth grade. I played my first eighteen holes by the end of that summer.” 

by George Bryan

The opportunity to commit to a leading Division 1 program this early means rapid skill development, and much hard work. Most don’t realize that division 1 major college coaches are watching girls compete closely in seventh and eighth grade so the recruiting lists are prioritized and established by college coaches before players enter high school. These lists are established based on performance so it’s important to play well as an eighth and ninth grade player. So Vardas obviously met those requirements. 

When asked what influenced the decision to attend Georgia Southern and early commit, Vardas said, “I really liked the campus and dorm-style apartments. They have a great practice facility and golf course. Mostly the Georgia Southern coaches and the women’s team were one of the biggest factors in my decision.”

When asked about short and long term goals, the Lexington Wildcat junior had this to say: “This offseason I want to get stronger in the weight room and concentrate on some bigger tournaments and invitationals in 2020, like USGA and AJGA tournaments. Long Term Goals . . . Win some college tournaments and prepare for LPGA Q School.”

This week Vardas and the rest of the Wildcats will be competing in the 5A Girls High School State Championship so stay tuned. 

Karlee’s last quote referencing offseason training is a good set up for part one of our Winter GS Training Series. It’s a simple start too; think about yours. Winter does not start until December but between now and then, decide what yours is going to be. Next week, in addition to high school girls golf results, I’m going to Spotlight Gyms, and golf specialty trainers in the community. 

It’s Winter Tour registration time and this youth and family recreational golf option is heading into its 28th season. The program’s theme from inception has been on families spending time together over golf. The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission Co-sponsored the event and Donnie Lindler, a Crooked Creek park Athletics administrator, along with Mark Steelman, Chris Miller, and “E” Rutherford, all local golf professionals were on the founding Winter Tour team. The Winter Tour is a developmental program that targets youth ages 5-17 from brand new to college prep. More than 16 courses support the program all over the midlands. Parents are required to participate as caddy’s guides, fans, four caddies or spectators and all learning takes place during play. Families explore, learn and play golf together, on the course. The designated play days are Sunday afternoons at 3 pm at different courses all over the midlands. This season, Exit Palmetto RealEstate with Tsunami Bar Sports is sponsoring a new Developmental initiative that will be conducted in tandem with the Winter Youth Golf Tour. For more information go to GrowGolfNow.com or call the Crooked Creek or Seven Oaks parks at 803-345-6181.